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The Media Rating System


This paper is about the differences in Korean and American film rating system. The hypothesis about what has shaped the Korean Film industry's ratings to be much higher and stricter compared to that of Americans'. The aspects that lead to this change such as Korea's history, culture, and mindsets among others have its effects on the children (Cesarone, 1994). This paper will keenly look at ratings between various countries and how these ratings say a lot about the country.  For example, there are movies that are rated pg-13 in the States but restricted for viewers under 18 in Korea.


This paper will use the resources from the internet such as to clearly explain even with graphs the rating system using an example of currently rating system and there after offer discussion on its relevance and effects to the community, a  comparison of currently active film rating systems, showing age on the horizontal axis.

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A motion picture rating system is selected to categorize films with respect to appropriateness for audiences in terms of issues such as sex, violence, substance abuse, profanity, impudence or other types of mature content. A specific issued rating is called a certification. This is intended to help parents choose whether a movie is appropriate for their children. Yet, the efficiency of these suspenders is extensively disputed (Child Development Institute, 2003). Also, in some authorities a rating may impose on movie theaters the legal responsibility of refusing the entry of children or minors to the movie. Moreover, where movie theaters do not have this legal obligation, they may impose limits on their own. Ratings are often given in lieu of censorship.

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There are various ways in which rating is carries out in some countries. countries such as Australia, an official government body agrees on ratings; in other countries, such as the United States, it is prepared by industry committees with little, if any official government status. In most countries, though, films that are well-thought of as morally offensive have been censored, restricted, or banned (Ivory, 2001). Even if the film rating system has no legal consequences, and a film has not clearly been limited or banned, there are generally laws forbidding certain films, or forbidding minors to view them.


Children of diverse ages watch and appreciate television in different ways, depending on the length of their attention spans, the ways in which they process data, the amount of mental power they devote, and their own life skills. These variables must all be studied to add an appreciation of how television violence disturbs them.

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The influence of definite factors in deciding a rating differs from country to country. For example, in countries such as the US, films with strong sexual content are repeatedly limited to adult viewers, whereas in countries such as France and Germany, sexual content is watched much more kindly (Villani, 2003). On the other hand, films with violent content are often focus in countries such as Germany and Finland to high ratings and even censorship, whereas countries such as the US offer more soft ratings to violent movies.

Other factors may or may not impact the classification process, such as being set within a non-fictional historical context, whether the film worships violence or drug use, whether said violence or drug use is supported out by the protagonist, with whom the viewer should empathize, or by the antagonist (Berger, 2004). In Germany, for example, films depicting explicit war violence in a real war context (such as the Second World War) are handled more kindly than films with purely fictional settings.

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Another problem is that the movie viewer categorises himself or herself with their favourite heroes and desperados, mainly in the use of cigarettes and drugs. Use of strong language is also dominant in all the Hollywood films, even in PG-13 movies. It has become normal to prove a point orally by the use of profane language, be it a good man or a bad character (Lynyong, 2004).

Small Rating of A Few Countries

The Bulgarian film rating system is defined in the Film Industry Law (or Act) of 2003. The National Film Rating Committee examines every film that is going to be distributed in the country and offers it a rating. In practice, the ratings are rarely revealed on posters and in film advertisements, but almost all DVDs have them on the back cover.

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There are only three classifications for movies shown in Belgian movie theatres: KT/EA - Kinderen Toegelaten/Enfants Admis (Children Admitted) - Allowed for all, KNT/ENA - Kinderen Niet Toegelaten/Enfants Non Admis (Children Not Admitted) - Not allowed for children younger than 16 of age and E - Exempt

The Korea Media Rating Board in Seoul divides licensed films into categories four main categories: All - Suitable for all audiences, 12+ - Suitable for children 12 and older (Parental supervision recommended), 15+ - Suitable for children 15 and older and Teenager restricted - Suitable for adults 18 and older.

A Restricted rating was announced in 2002. Films with this rating were limited to adults over 19, could only be revealed in particularly licensed theatres, and could not be advertised or released on home video. The rating was ruled unlawful in 2009 after a dare from the local distributor of Short bus.

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The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rates both motion pictures and videos (and an increasing number of video games) these includes: U (Universal) Suitable for all, PG (Parental Guidance) General viewing but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.

12A (12 Accompanied/Advisory) Recommended for 12 years and older. People under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult etc.

Looking at the Korea rating system, adults are basically considered over 19. This has mostly to do with Korea's history, culture, and mindsets.  The censorship often altered depends on the government's attitude toward the social structure and films. Thus, the filmmakers could not criticize the government in any aspect; instead, they could only promote and support the government. Thus, the filmmakers were not permitted to freely direct their creativity as well as their ideas and thoughts, and these limitations lead to the drop of the film industry. They both understood that media was the most powerful channel used at the time that affected how people saw the government. Prior to 1987, the government passed the First Motion Picture Law to take control of the film industry. This law did not permit the industry to easily produce the movie if the contents were not met to their criteria. 

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The American ratings system: the Motion Picture Association of America runs a 10 - 13 member board that sits down and watches every single movie and chooses which of the subsequent groups it falls into: G for general admission; PG indicating some material may not be suitable for children; PG-13 asserting that some material may be unsuitable for children under 13; a sudden jump to R-children under 17 must go along with  an adult when watching the film; and then NC-17, in which no person under 17 is let in under any conditions.

The first problem with American ratings is that they are entirely voluntary. Studios can indicate whether or not to submit their films to the MPAA, and can withdraw their films and make edits in order to reduce the rating. In practice the huge majority of films are submitted for rating, but if a service intended for the protection of children is not mandatory, there's something wrong with it. In addition, the ratings are not imposed by law, so it is up to the cinema manager's will who gets to watch the rape and torture and whatnot.

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Another problem is the way sexuality is rated firmer than violence-sex and nudity are considered less natural and more upsetting than brutal, horrific, unwanted violence.  Clearly, it can be seen that the American system has loopholes and may not fully limit excessiveness as well as violence due to the leniency in their rating system.

Looking At the Effects of Media on Children

The Academy of Pediatrics says "More than one thousand scientific studies and reviews conclude that long exposure to media violence escalates the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children, numbs them to violence and makes them have confidence in  the world  a 'meaner and scarier' place than it is."  If children begin to consider this type of violence is normal behavior these views are often said to be hard to change later on in life.  This is comparable to the studies of domestic violence where children who are open to violence either develop to be offenders or targets because they trust that what they are showed is the norm.  One case that brought the fear of violence in media is the Columbine incident (Ilbo, 2009).  The two young men that committed this act of violence were said to have occupied themselves to many hours of violent video games.  Their introduction to violence is said to have been the reason since the children involved in Columbine came from secure home environments with active parental influence.  As with Michael Carneal, from Kentucky, who in 1997 gunshot and murdered three of his classmates, he too was likewise said to have been a video game addict.  Michael Breen an attorney in the case against Michael Carneal stated in court; "Michael Carneal clipped off nine shots in a 10-second period.  Eight of those gunshots were hits.  Three were head and neck shots and were kills.  That is way beyond the military standard for expert marksmanship.  This was a kid who had never fired a pistol in his life, but because of his obsession with computer games he had turned himself into an expert marksman" (Ivory, 2003), (Hanson, 1999, p. 15).  These two cases in a whole may be small evidence however, shows that violent media play a role in such violence.











In fact, the child who is being presented with an over-abundance of adult life conflicts and desires ends up being pushed toward grownup ideas tends to become afraid of growing up and is therefore stunted in his maturation process.

In conclusion, learning about the Media is a Way of Learning about Us. What mostly our society is bound to be for the media affects us in terms of reasoning, reacting and developing. It is very important to learn the media.

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